Mamata Banerjee is known for her crisp, white handloom sarees. But can you imagine her in a blue and red striped Barcelona football club jersey? With nothing less than the iconic Number 10 assigned to it.
Barcelona captain Lionel Messi, one of the best footballers on the planet, has sent a very special gift for the West Bengal chief minister - a signed Barcelona jersey, with "DIDI", as Ms Banerjee is fondly known, inscribed on it.
The jersey also carries a message for her: "Best wishes for my friend Didi from Lionel Messi".
Known to be a football fan, the West Bengal chief minister received the gift for successfully hosting the Under-17 World Cup last year.
Lionel Messi sent the signed club jersey for Ms Banerjee via Barcelona Legends last week. The team came to Kolkata last Friday for a friendly match against Bengal's own Mohun Bagan.
The signature blue and red number 10 jersey has been worn by football legends including Diego Maradona, Romario and Ronaldinho. Ms Banerjee will now share that honour.
FC Barcelona Legends Juliano Belletti and Jari Litmanen handed over the jersey to the Football Next Foundation organizers after the match.
"They couldn't hand it over to Ms Banerjee personally, so they gave it to us. We have approached the CMO. Whenever Ms Banerjee agrees to meet us, we will hand it over to her," Kaushik Moulik, founder of the football foundation, said.
Lionel Messi is not a stranger to Kolkata. He had come came to the city in 2011 for a match between Argentina and Venezuela at the Salt Lake Stadium, and has a huge fan base in Kolkata. During the football world cup, a Kolkata tea seller had painted his house in Argentina's blue and white flag.
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